At the Whole30 Coaching Summit, the very first workshop around Diversity & Inclusion was facilitated by Erika Hart, not only just learning about it but opening up dialogue and understanding of racial & social justice and what it actually means. The workshop was incredible, such an eye opener and it certainly deserves its own blog post. Here I’d like to share the first exercise of that workshop.
After the introduction Erika told us with the subject at hand that it’s really good for us to connect, to get connected and to notice other people. Therefore we would start with a guided meditation. We were asked to turn to the person next to us and sit eye to eye, knee to knee and to be present with the person sitting in front of us. We were told to relax, resist the urge to fidget, to fold arms, cross legs (which are barriers and distractions to prevent us from being truly present). We just had to look at the person in front of us … to look at them for 5 minutes!
I was sat opposite a fellow Whole30 Coach I had never met before that day. We sat knee to knee. It was really awkward at first, for maybe 30 seconds and once we settled in and truly looked in to each others eyes I felt like I really saw her … I mean, I’d looked at her as she was sat next to me, we’d actually chatted but it wasn’t until I really looked into her eyes that I felt like I really SAW her.
She was beautiful.
Erika guided us through the meditation, slowly prompting us … “what was their experience like this morning”, “did they sleep well or were they restless in the night”, “did they have breakfast”, “have they spoken to their parents lately, their siblings”, “how are they feeling coming to the summit not knowing anyone” … I imagined my person waking up and feeling a knot in their stomach nervous about being at the summit, and feeling overwhelmed about being there and feeling like she was out of her depth … all of this of course were my own thoughts. My eyes quickly started to fill up, you can imagine I was trying my damnedest to not ugly cry!!! I mean this poor lady had to look at ME another 4 minutes!!
I desperately wanted her not to feel the way I had imagined. I hoped that she hadn’t been hurt in her life. I hoped that she had love in her life, I hoped that she was lucky enough to have ‘her person’, a person that made her feel loved and safe. I hoped that she felt worthy and that she absolutely belonged at the summit just as much as every other person in that room.
I couldn’t believe how emotional it made me. I’ve never actually sat and looked into someones eyes like that for so long, in silence, just looking and more importantly, seeing. She looked so loving, I absolutely saw love in her eyes. Looking in her eyes reminded me of my mother who passed away when I was 25 so I had the feels around that too!
We are all very much focused on ourselves and getting through life, the meditation was to raise the question within ourselves of how can I consider the person next to me, consider what they might be going through?
Following the exercise I instantly felt close to her, we hadn’t spoken during the whole 5 minutes but weirdly I felt a deep connection.
The point of the exercise being that we don’t know what other people are going through, what their day has been like, what journey they are on, what are their internal struggles, have they had bad news lately …
It also promoted me to ask myself what I had done to make her feel welcome, to feel loved and like she belonged here?
Please take time to see people around you, people that you know and people that you don’t … take time to get interested in what other people are dealing with … are they okay, like are they really okay?